GRHS to begin fall preseason practices Monday
Glen Rose High School head football coach and Athletic Director Cliff Watkins is just happy that his Tigers escaped the season delays larger schools are dealing with in this surreal world — sometimes referred to as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tigers, members of District 5-4A Division II, are cleared to start their preseason football workouts this Monday, Aug. 3. Texas public schools at the Class 4A level and smaller are being allowed by the University Interscholastic League COVID-19 guidelines to start their seasons on time. Meanwhile, Class 5A and 6A schools will be on hold and can’t play their first game of the football season until the fourth week of September.
“We’re excited to be out here, and being able to work with our kids. The kids are really working hard,” Watkins said Wednesday morning after the Tigers’ offseason conditioning workouts. “We got good news from the UIL, knowing we get to start Aug. 3.”
The first day of school for GRISD schools is set for Wednesday, Aug. 12.
“Things are going to be different, but it will be good to be back and having kids doing things they like to be doing,” Watkins said.
The football Tigers will start their 2020 football practice schedule at 7 a.m. Monday, followed by weightlifting. Their schedule will be the same on Tuesday.
Wednesday through Friday, the once-a-day football practice sessions will begin at 4 p.m. The second week of football practice will have varying starting times.
GRHS head volleyball coach Sandy Langford has scheduled two-a-day preseason practices for her Lady Tigers starting Monday. They have scrimmages scheduled for Aug. 7-8, and their regular-season opener is set for Aug. 11 in Boyd, taking on Sanger and Boyd in back-to-back matches.
The other fall sports teams at GRHS — cross country with coach Ramsey Ghazal along with team tennis with coach Gregger Yeager — will also be starting their preseason preparations next week. The girls and boys cross country teams will have their first meet on Aug. 28 in Burleson. The GRHS team tennis schedule opens on Aug. 25, at home against Peaster.
FINDING FORT STOCKTON
Watkins had to search a bit outside the usual range to find an opponent to complete his Tigers’ 2020 football schedule.
The foe the Tigers picked up for the hole in their their third week was Fort Stockton — a West Texas school that’s almost a six-hour drive from Glen Rose. Fortunately, the Tigers were able to secure a neutral site — San Angelo — that is approximately midway between the two towns.
The matchup against Fort Stockton will be played on Thursday, Sept. 10, at the San Angelo ISD football stadium (kickoff time TBA).
The Fort Stockton game takes the place of Fort Worth Castleberry, which had to be erased from the Glen Rose non-district slate because of Tarrant County’s COVID-19 restrictions that will delay the start of the season for schools there.
Watkins said that the long trip to San Angelo may have a playoff flavor, in effect, “meeting a team we normally don’t see. It will be a good experience for us.”
After Watkins learned that Castleberry had to be replaced, the search was instantly on for a suitable opponent to fill that slot, scanning through various websites and social media posts, and making phone calls to find another school searching for the right matchup. Leaving that date open — which would have given the Tigers two idle weeks this season — was not an option.
“We needed a game,” Wakins said. “We need to get game experience with this team. You don’t want an open date that early in the season.”
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine picked Glen Rose as the favorite in District 5-4A Division II. The Tigers are expecting to have two offensive and four defensive starters back from its 7-6 squad in 2019, among a dozen returning lettermen.
Fort Stockton is picked to be the runner-up in District 2-4A Division I, behind 21st-ranked Andrews.
The Tigers also had to make changes to their pre-season plans, canceling their first scrimmage, against Benbrook — another Tarrant County school having the start of its season delayed by local health officials there.
Now Glen Rose will have only one scrimmage, still at Stephenville, although it has been moved to Thursday, Aug. 20 from Aug. 14. The varsity starting time for the Glen Rose scrimmage versus the Yellow Jackets has been switched to 7 p.m. It will be at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.
Glen Rose had been fortunate in not having to replace any other non-district opponents. Some Class 4A schools, including Division I Stephenville, had to scramble to find substitutes for non-district games that were scheduled against schools from larger classifications. The University Interscholastic League recently ruled that Class 5A and 6A schools would not be allowed to start their football seasons until the fourth week of September.
The first varsity football game of the regular season for GRHS will be Aug. 28, at home against Springtown. That will be followed by a Sept. 4 game at Gatesville, then the Sept. 10 game in San Angelo against Fort Stockton, then a Sept. 18 game at Grandview, followed by a Sept. 25 game at home against Decatur, and the final non-district contest, Oct. 2 at Mineral Wells.
The District 5-4A Division II district schedule for Glen Rose starts Oct. 9 at Godley, followed by an Oct. 16 home game versus Hillsboro, a road game Oct. 23 at Venus, then an open week, followed by the final regular-season game, at home against Ferris. The district games will start at 7 p.m.